Isaac Lea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the English footballer, see Isaac Lea (footballer).
Isaac Lea
Issac Lea.jpg
Isaac Lea
Born (1792-03-04)March 4, 1792
Wilmington, Delaware
Died December 8, 1886(1886-12-08) (aged 94)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[1]
Nationality American

Isaac Lea (March 4, 1792 – December 8, 1886) was an American conchologist, geologist, and publisher, who was born in Wilmington, Delaware.[2]

Early and Family Life[edit]

Although born a Quaker (his grandfather John Lea having emigrated to the New World with William Penn in 1700 and preached at Friends' meetings), Isaac Lea forsook his faith's traditional pacificism and joined the 7th Company of the 24th Pennsylvania Militia and fought in the War of 1812. After hostilities ended, on March 8, 1821, he married Frances Ann Carey (1799-1873), daughter of Irish-American publisher Mathew Carey, based in Philadelphia. Their first son died as an infant, but the following two sons survived, were tutored by leading mathematician Eugenius Nulty, and ultimately achieved distinction in scholarly fields and the family publishing business, as well as married the Jaudon sisters and had children of their own who also joined the family business that business ultimately became Lea & Febinger. Henry Charles Lea (September 19, 1825 - October 24, 1909) was an American historian, civic reformer, and political activist in Philadelphia. Mathew Carey Lea(1823-1897) became a lawyer as well as founder of mechanochemistry and early photographer.

Publishing career[edit]

In 1825, Mathew Carey retired, leaving his prosperous business in the hands of his son Henry Charles Carey and son-in-law Isaac.[2][3] The publishing house became one of the most successful in America, publishing among others The Encyclopedia Americana, a dictionary of German lexicon, as well as American editions of the works of Walter Scott and James Fenimore Cooper. The firm promoted William A. Blanchard to partner in 1833, and when Mathew Carey died in 1838 and Henry Carey retired in 1846, the publishing house's name changed to Lea & Blanchard, and it became Lea Brothers when his sons entered into the business and Isaac himself retired to pursue his scientific interests.[3][4] In the 1840s, the Careys were staunch nationalists and economic protectionists.

Scientific career[edit]

Isaac Lea devoted his leisure time to natural history, both collecting objects and publishing books (some illustrated by his son Henry Charles Lea).[2] He was especially interested in freshwater and land mollusks, and for 50 years delivered and published scientific papers in the transactions of Philadelphia's scientific societies concerning these animals.[2]

He was a member (and for a time vice-president) of the American Philosophical Society and also served as President of the American Academy of Natural Sciences(1858-1863), both based in Philadelphia. Isaac Lea served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1860.[5]

Death and Legacy[edit]

He died on December 8, 1886 and is buried in Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery.[6] In 1829, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem dedicated to Lea called "To Isaac Lea".

The National Museum at Washington now has his immense collection of freshwater mussels from the family Unionidae, as well as other collections.[2][7]

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has the records of Lea & Febinger, as well as predecessor companies.[8]

Publications[edit]

Isaac Lea's publications included:

Molluscan taxa named by Lea include:

References[edit]

External links[edit]